Today, CCAFS formally launches the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, which intends to synthesize major studies and identify pathways to address food security in the context of climate change [Press Release]. The Commission, which is chaired by UK Chief Science Advisor Sir John Beddington, is made up of thirteen eminent scientists and economists from Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, France, Kenya, India, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. Additional support is provided by the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development.
Videos: The new Commissioners speak about the links between climate change and food security, and share their hopes for the Commission.
Recent droughts and floods have contributed to increases in food prices. These are pushing millions more people into poverty and hunger, and are contributing to political instability and civil unrest. Climate change is predicted to increase these threats to food security and stability. There is evidence that 4-degree rise in temperatures will have profound effects on farming, cutting down both the range of potential adaptation options and the efficacy of those options (see the paper from ILRI scientists). These changes are predicted to further exacerbate increasing food prices. IFPRI scientists recently estimated that food prices might more or less double by 2050 under a climate change scenario. While farmers have always found ways to adapt to changing weather conditions, the changes ahead are unprecedented. As climates effectively migrate, farmers will have to look to other sites and regions for the best practices and technologies
The Commission’s work
There is a rich body of scientific evidence for sustainable agriculture approaches that can increase production of food, fibre and fuel, help decrease poverty and benefit the environment, but agreement is needed on how best to put these approaches into action at scale.
Says Dr. Bruce Campbell, Director of CCAFS:
“there are so many perspectives on the best way for farmers to adapt to climate change—and for farmers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as well—that we have ended up sort of paralyzed by a lack of clear choices.”
Dr. Mohammed Asaduzzaman, Research Director of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies and the Commission’s Deputy Chair, agrees:
“I think policymakers are eager for a clear set of recommendations supported by a strong scientific consensus for achieving food security in a world where weather extremes seem to becoming more and more common”
Over the coming months, the Commission will synthesize existing research to clearly articulate scientific findings on the potential impact of climate change on food security globally and regionally. The Commission will then produce a set of specific policy actions for dealing with these challenges, which will be primarily directed to international policy, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Rio+20 Earth Summit, and the Group of 20 (G20) industrialized and developing countries.
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